Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Spontaneous Combustion of Floor Staining applicators takes House

From a Loundoun County Fire and Rescue press release:

At 4:32 a.m. on Saturday, the Loudoun County Emergency Communications Center received a 911 call for a reported structure fire on Orrison Road in Lovettsville. Fire Investigators say that oil-soaked construction materials spontaneously combusted, sparking a Saturday morning fire consumed a Loudoun County home. 

Loudoun County Fire and Rescue units from Lovettsville, Lucketts, and Purcellville, as well as Frederick County, Maryland were dispatched to the scene. When they arrived, the crews found a two-story single-family home with fire pushing through the second story and roof. The floor refinisher’s van was still in the driveway with a flat tire.

The Loudoun County Fire and Rescue Fire Marshal’s Office investigation classified the fire as accidental, caused by the spontaneous combustion of the oil soaked staining applicators consisting of rollers and brushes, the release said.

The house is a total loss. Fortunately, no one was injured since the home owner had moved before Christmas and the house was being updated for sale. There were no reported civilian or firefighter injuries. 

I report this for two reasons. First the homeowner is a dear friend of mine and the loss of her home of more than 25 years was devastating, though she was in the process of downsizing and had all her chosen treasures in the new house. Second, as a reminder that oil and solvent soaked materials are combustible. No used rages, open materials or applicators should be stored or left in an enclosed area. After using stain applicators, they should be placed in a safe location outside, away from the structure to dry before discarding. Never pile rags, brushes, or rollers together, rather lay them flat on an exterior surface and allow them to completely dry. My father was obsessive on this topic and he was completely right.

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